Once when Pete and I were flying out to California, I was sexually assaulted on the plane while waiting to use the restroom. Standing in line minding my own business one minute and the next, some guy grabbed my ass and gave it a big squeeze. My own husband wouldn’t have taken the liberty to do that.
I was completely shocked. I looked around. I wasn’t sure if it was the guy who had just brushed past me, or the guy in the aisle seats. I couldn’t tell. It was a grab and go maneuver so smooth it must have been well rehearsed.
It happened so quickly, that it wasn’t long before I was doubting myself. I returned to my seat and said to Pete, “I think some guy just grabbed my ass!”
He looked at me with a blank stare and said, “Are you kidding me? What do you mean ‘you think’? Did you see who did it?”
“No, I am not kidding you! Yes, it did happen it just is hard to believe it happened. And no, I didn’t catch him. Hence why someone isn’t walking around grabbing their crotch.” We went back to reading our respective books. What could be done? I can tell you that after the shock wore off I thought of the following things I could have done, and trust me, if this ever happens again, I hope to remember these options:
- Turn around and in a loud voice say, “Who just sexually assaulted me?”
- Or, “Who just grabbed my behind?”
- Or, “Steward! Steward! Someone just grabbed my arse and I want to file a report!”
- Or, go up and down the aisles and say, “Please watch out, there is someone on this plane that feels it is perfectly ok to assault a woman!”
My point? It is time to stop the silence. My second point: when my friend laughs about repealing amendment 19, he is teaching me and all the other men/women/children who have lived in a culture of silence and acceptance of sexual assault that he isn’t taking this matter seriously. And guys, if you need a comparison, how would you like it if when you walked down the aisle of a plane I reached out and grabbed your private parts? Let me conclude this rant by stating what should be obvious: there are also men and boys, not just women and girls, who have been sexually assaulted – and they also deserve raised voices of protest on their behalf too. None of it is funny and all of it has been minimized for too long. So instead of #repeal19, how about #stopsexualviolenceinallforms. I can get behind that slogan.